Posts Tagged ‘Ironman Syracuse’

Still not totally “reconciled” a week after the ill fated canceled NYC marathon.

Still no resolution or word on what will be done for the 45000 runners who got little or nothing for their $250, not to mention those of us with non-refundable hotel/travel arrangements. Worse of all and more importantly, many of the storm’s victims are still without heat or power. Gas is a priceless commodity as well. That would be the negative side of the equation. Indeed, people are still suffering a huge loss in those areas. No win-win for anybody.

On the positive side, many runners donated, some traveled directly to the areas hit by the storm, and did good deeds, making a difference. The impromptu runs came together quickly thanks to the ever so connected world of social media. “Run Anyways” was an inspirational event, and I am glad to have witnessed it, and participate. More funds and donations were raised and collected there as well.

As I chose to run a solid half marathon effort, my recovery was quick, and I spent the transition week running with our weimaraners, and a few light bike trainer workouts. Even though training leading up to do the marathon certainly benefits my fitness that I can carry over, it was more run focused and endurance based.

Now that I have done a hard reset per EN protocol, I am all in with one singular focus, one goal: Cross the finish line at Ironman Lake Placid on July 28th, 2013.

37 weeks to go before the big dance.

This will be a very different season coming up. I love to do events/races. As a social athlete, I am in for the fun and excitement of the events. Over the next eight months, I will forgo many races that I might normally do. I have set my mind to follow the training plan, and not look to make exceptions to accommodate races that cause me to shift things around in the training plans, or require me to recover and not just train through them. This does not mean that I won’t do other events, but they will have to fit my training schedule, and not interfere with each week’s specific purpose. Each week from here on out, has a specific purpose, and necessary to achieve my goal.

As an Endurance Nation athlete, I have a season plan that takes me to the big day. Unlike what you may be thinking, it is not 37 weeks of ironman training. I chose to do Lake Placid, as it was designated as a EN team event, and part of the Master Season planned races. This means I will be working with the same goals as many of my fellow team mates, and draw upon the collective knowledge of the coaches and team members.

My 2013 season is broken down as follows:

  • 6 weeks of Bike Focused Plan- this includes running skills, heavy bike training no swimming. I picked this as I can make big bike fitness and time gains. Heading into winter, means cycle training indoors. Have to up my mental game.
  • 1 week reset, unstructured workouts as I feel
  • 14 weeks of Out Season Training. lot of work on getting faster, train to be faster. No swimming called for, but I will be looking for swim training/coaching on easy or rest days to improve my water skills. Weakest link, and I can drop a 2 hour ironman swim down to 1:40-1:45 maybe better than that. It will be a matter of when and where classes will be offered.
  • Mid April I will switch to 16 weeks of ironman training and begin adding endurance on top of the expected speed gains. I may attend EN training camp early June, as training on the actual course is priceless and critical to knowing where/when to execute race strategies.
  • Along with all this, I am focused on reaching reaching that 160lb weight goal, as I don’t want to haul around anymore of my fat butt than I have too.

Much of the focus will be similar to training for Ironman Syracuse 70.3. Of course it’s twice as long, and requires attention to all details. As before, Coach Rich & Patrick, my fellow EN teammates will have my back, and will guide me through the highs and lows, illnesses and or injuries should they occur. As much as I am in awe and intimidated at completing a 140.6 mile journey, I am excited for what I expect will be an epic day, and a experience that will be life changing.


Wow, hard to believe that twenty years have passed since the inaugural running of this race. This is a very significant stake in the ground regarding history and my sense of  space, time, and other aspects of aging. Back in my early hay days I worked on a number of races with race director Dave Oja. I volunteered as a technical coordinator for the very first festival of races, and a few more after that. Dave had big ideas on putting on a fast 5K that attracted national and world class level talent. That he did. It was a lot of fun putting on very successful races, and very rewarding to be a part of all that. It was every bit awe inspiring to watch runners at that level go to work on the course that was laid out. Eventually my professional life and eventual move to Cortland took me away from the Syracuse area, at least on a daily/weekly basis. It would also lead me away from the sport of running & triathlons for an all too long of a time.  Coming back home to run the twentieth year of the race is very fitting as 2012 has been my renaissance if you will. The race also fits for a few other reasons which I’ll get to.

As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I have been fortunate to have participated in one well ran race after another the entire 2012 season.  Aside from my emotional attachment to the event,  it is my humble opinion, that the Festival of Races is a well-planned, and well-executed event. Lots of great volunteers, great support from sponsors, great SWAG, and the Syracuse Police Department was above and beyond.  I heard some complaints about weather. Personally I loved it. Cool, a little misty for the 5k’s, and it did drizzle some during the 3K fun run. My attitude is that we always get “weather,” It is not to going to deter me in the slightest.  I drove up on Saturday to grab my packet, and that was super easy at Destiny Mall. A quick stop at Dick’s Sporting Goods, and I was all set. Love the nice long sleeve tech shirt.

Even though I am in training mode for the NYC marathon, today’s 5k was useful for testing to see what leg speed I have post Ironman Syracuse, and the fact I have not done all that much speed work since. My bad………

I would run this full throttle, and re-establish a baseline Vdot for training pre and post marathon.  I use races sometimes to do the testing, as I like the energy from the event, and I find it easier mentally to do it this way rather than tough it out solo. I would run a zone five (heart rate) effort, and whatever I could withstand the last 2K  of the course.  I arrived early to get parked before traffic control was set up. Again, super easy, directions were spot on. Nice to see friends and familiar faces. For a warm up, I headed out for a half mile easy jog with a few pickups to loosen up and then stretched a bit before lining up. Start was smooth, and I seeded myself behind a few rows further back from the fast runners. No problems, got running room quickly, and went to work. I goofed up double starting my GPS watch, no problem. All the kilometer and mile splits were called out on the course (kudos to the volunteers). I had pace and heart rate, and that would do just fine. 7:48-7:56 pace first two miles. Heart rate pegged at my estimated max of 179 bpm. I was working it, and I was going the leave it all on the course. Even though I was working hard, I kept my breathing smooth and kept thinking to myself “smooth is fast” Going to 4k, my heart rate was 182-183, and I got it back down to 181 bpm with about a third of a mile to go. I clocked in a 25:10 (8:06/mile pace) Second best time this year at an 5K event. Not fast by most standards, but a good performance for yours truly. Happy that I did not lose to much speed since my “A” race at Ironman Syracuse. I’ll be able to start my out season base training  later this fall with a much higher Vdot than I had last fall. Very helpful for Ironman Lake Placid next July.

For reference, winner of my age group (50-54) turned in a 15:24. Another observation, It took until the turn around, and working it hard to just pass a bunch of the 70-74 age groupers in the USAT Masters division. God bless them, but I can’t see how I can live long enough to beat these national class guys. Only way it will happen is attrition, simply outlive them. Me verses the zombies. Seriously, they were most impressive. Another observation: going out to the turn around, I got to see the front runners coming back. They make running sub 5 minute miles look so effortless and fluid. My DNA envies them. Takes me back to the days of driving the lead vehicle, and watching the front runners churn out the course. I always enjoyed that.

Post race refreshments were great, Gatorade, turkey sub, and I was good to go. 20th Anniversary finishers medal was very nice! While I was relaxing post 5K, another runner came up and asked if he could have his picture taken with me. I was taken back at first, as this is not something I normally get asked. After a little conversation I learned that he had focused on trying to catch me during the race, but just not able to catch me. Given my pace, again, not something I am use to hearing. Maybe he focused on my bright neon yellow Nike tank top, or the tattoos, not sure. I must be easy to spot- just saying. I believe he had a good race, and sought me out for the picture (posted at the bottom). As it also turns out, my new friend, Xinyu Wang is a student at Syracuse University working on his masters degree in engineering. Being an engineer myself, I do like the commonalities. It is a small world. Great to make a new friend, and it was a little twist on a great day of racing. It made my day.

Once I got myself settled down, I relaxed until the 3K fun run. I jumped in on that to run a couple of miles easy and enjoy the crowd. The kids were fun to watch, and I enjoyed my warm down.

Lots of great thoughts on today’s event.  It brought back many memories from those early years. Congrats to Dave, and the entire crew that puts it on every year, and I extend my best wishes for the years to come.

Most appropriate topic after a wonderful weekend celebrating our twelve year wedding anniversary. To illustrate just how great it has been for us, I have a short side bar I’ll divulge at the end of this blog post.

As an Endurance Nation team member I have an exhaustive list of terms, acronyms, and super secret decoder ring passwords at my disposal 🙂 One of these special abbreviations: SAU’s otherwise known as Spousal Approval Units. Team EN is really big on this, and is an often discussed topic.

SAU’s is just our techie-type ‘A’ -tri jocks way of saying “brownie points for putting up with all this triathlon stuff.” Let’s face it, all of the training and racing places demands on time and resources. Just like utilizing rest and recovery to up your game and race performances, taking care of and spending time with your loved ones are just as important. Arguably more so. OK, way more important. Even if your soul mate is also an athlete, sooner or later, non-tri related diversity will be an important concept.

Like many things in life, balance and moderation can be beneficial. Moderation is not typically a common word in a triathlete’s vocabulary. Just the same- zen, harmony, karma all apply here. A happy home means a happy athlete. Over time this can really add up. Staying in the sport depends on keeping balance. Unless you make a living at it, even if you do, it’s suppose to be fun, rewarding and enjoyable. It’s all a game, and something fun we love to do. We all know the mantra of more, faster, harder, repeat.

Back to my SAU’s.

To start, I married up. My wife Lee is beyond supportive in all things I do. Very smart move on my part 🙂 As loving and supportive as she is, time spent together and doing things as a couple is not to be neglected. Too much time training, and not enough cuddle time, romantic dinners, or just spending time doing things on our land, would make her a little “restless.” In my/our case, we both have demanding professional jobs. Lee does not participate in the tri sports, but loves hiking, kayaking, and we hunt together a great deal during spring and fall seasons. Even without my tri passion, there are many demands on our quality time together.

Lee gave me some leeway on my return to the sport during my fitness base build pre-Syracuse, and especially during the weeks of training preparing for Ironman Syracuse 70.3. The benefits of course are better health, big weight loss, the evidence of fatty liver disease gone, and my cholesterol levels dropping to near acceptable levels (still have more to go.) Even though she supported me making good decisions for my health and quality of our future, it did place encroaching demands on our time as a couple.

Having a few smarts to my credit, I moved training when I could to times of the day when she went to work (she leaves an hour before I do), or during my lunch time. I raced some, but not every weekend or back to back Saturday/Sundays. We did get into the habit of having dinner out once a week or every two weeks, usually at Hairy Tony’s (our fav.) There were plenty of days where Lee would pick me up at an end point of a long run, or I would run with our weimeraners to give here some quiet time after a long day at work. Jake and Abby do love to run. Sometimes Lee would come to the races with me, the ultimate support crew, and then we would go do couple stuff afterwards. We enjoy travel, and the wineries here in NY especially. Those are big SAU days. My big day finishing Ironaman Syracuse, Lee volunteered as a wetsuit stripper, and then spent the rest of the day supporting my race. I kept my promise to back down the racing post Syracuse. A few road races, and one triathlon for the reminder of the summer.

This past weekend we vacationed in Lake Placid for our twelfth anniversary. No racing, in fact no training, unless you count the walk around Mirror lake to walk off a wonderful dinner. We did drive the Ironman course, which just happens to be a beautiful drive. Yep, it is that awesome of a drive, breathtaking, especially as you come into Wilmington from the east. I ran my long run last night after we got home. no training during our honeymoon/anniversary trip.

As to future SAU’s- This fall I will run the NYC marathon. I planned it as a long weekend, taking the train down and back, spending a few extra days in the big city. It will be a nice mini vacation for us. Lots of side benefits for us as a couple, and even more for myself as an athlete. Mini race vacations take away the pressure of getting so much done in one or two days. A extra day to be a tourist, an extra day after to relax recover, travel home are all good reasons to add a few days. Even so, in keeping with a constant flow of SAU’s, non race vacations must be planned with the same regularity and enthusiasm as big race weekends. Next season there will be the ramp to finish my first ironman in Lake Placid. I will make the same efforts to balance out the time spent doing this. Since this is such a huge focus, there will be less racing, more training. In deciding on which ironman event, I had been considering Wisconsin , and Cedar Point which are both late summer races, and easier to train for given our weather here. However, Lee loves going to Lake Placid, and is familiar with the area. It would be every bit a long day for her as well as myself. Supporting me for such a long day in a new or unfamiliar town made my choice much easier. Lake Placid won out.

To complete my promised sidebar: ( please note: this is not tri related)

As I had mentioned it has been a great 12 years of marriage (the three years, three months , and 9 day courtship wasn’t too bad either.) One evening we were watching TV, and the fall movie ads were coming out with all the horror and action flicks that I like. Lee is real big on the girly love stories. An ensuing discussion came about that we had been seeing my preferred genre of films, and we were due for a love story. You could say my next response could be SAU related, you decide…………………. In quick fashion I remarked: “Why would you need to see a love story when you are already living one”

Great way to muster support for seeing the next “Blade” or “Resident Evil” movie. That aside, yeah, it’s really is/been that good. I couldn’t ask for a better 12 years. umm……..15 years 3 months and 9 days not that anyone is counting.

Any of you have great SAU stories, things you did to show your appreciation! Do post!

Hey tri-peeps! Registration is now open for the 2013 Ironamans Syracuse!

Ironman 70.3 Syracuse –

Obviously I love this event, I recommend this race for a pile of reasons:

  • Well organized, and well ran.
  • Great volunteers!
  • Great venue
  • A great swim in the Jamesville reservoir, three leg course
  • Challenging bike leg, but most of the hard work is early, making it easier to set up a good run
  • Challenging run course

Not sure on my plans yet, as I am signed up for Lake Placid (5 weeks after Syracuse.) That would put a big a hole in my training to recover from the race, and not a great idea with a full ironman close at hand. If I was at an elite level, different story. No worries on that.  I may do a team relay or volunteer for the event.  Anyone interested in putting a team together?

Dog days of summer are here for sure! Has been a hot one, and great weather to be out doing what you love to do.  Five weeks have past since my big ‘A’ race @ Ironman Syracuse.  Still feeling it a little, but not at all like I remember after doing Firmman Half Ironman back in 1994. Much better recovery this time around. Today at lunch I went out for a 4-5 mile run with a couple of mile repeats. I hacked my marathon hack  in my training plan to accommodate a catered half marathon training run @ Deryuter Tromptown races this Thursday. I signed up for the early start as I planned to run something between racing pace and my long run pace, which may go out past two hours. I was suppose to run yesterday, and had stomach issues that were cause to adapt and reschedule.

Very stoked with the mile repeats at lunch. Moderate weather in comparison to last few weeks. 68F at noon today, some overcast, and light wind.I decide to see what I crank out at a slightly lower gear with a 160bpm to 165bpm heart rate. First repeat came in at 8:47 with my heart rate hovering around 162bpm. Walked a 100 yards to drop heart back down, recovery pace for the remainder of the next mile. For the 2nd mile repeat, I decided to push it to another gear, but not all out like I would for a Vdot test. I stayed close to 172bpm until the last quarter mile,and then it jumped to 177bpm. Clocked a 7:55, and was very happy to inch closer to mile repeat pacing that I saw this spring. Starting to get some snap back in the legs.

This Thursday at Tromptown will be about smooth execution,and maybe a little push. The course is scenic as it travels clock wise around the reservoir and back in to town. It is an evening run, and will be subjected to the heat and humidity of the day. Predictions are for a high of 81F so far. I will ease into the first three miles at a 10ish per mile pace, and then drop it down if I feel it in the legs. If not, I will enjoy the ride at a long run pace, maybe with a few surges or mile repeats to break up the distance.

I am at a good head space relative to 51 weeks to go for Ironman Lake Placid. Loosely following a EN (Endurance Nation) get fast plan with a marathon hack for NYC marathon in November.  A short break, and then out season training, a little time of single sport focus (have to decide on bike or swim), and then the major decision of doing a period of get fast training with a 12 week build to Lake Placid or going straight to a 20 week build. I have plenty of time before I need to decide. Everything I do now can add or detract to Lake Placid. The pressure is off, and I can focus on just building fitness, some speed, and enjoy the long runs leading to NYC marathon. Looking very forward to checking off that bucket list item.

In a few weeks I will toe the line at the Turning Stone half marathon,and then the Little York Sprint Tri in September for the last triathlon of my season. As it turns out, I will also revisit Festival of Races 5K on 9/30. I volunteered as a technical Coordinator for Dave Oja for the inaugural race, and several years after. Hard to believe 30 years have past. Just happens to be the day before fall turkey season, so no conflict. Opening day of fall turkey season is akin to a national holiday at our house.

Other than Endurance Nation training camp at Lake Placid next Jun, no solid event plans for winter /spring 2013. Ironman Syracuse is most certainly being thought of, maybe as part of a relay team or as a volunteer. We’ll see on that. The importance of Ironman Lake Placid will dictate what events I may consider depending on whether they complement or conflict with the training goals/schedule, to-do’s at home, family events, and my budget.

Here’s an updated pic after a few days of healing:


Syracuse Half Ironman 70.3 Tattoo

Tattoo is done! So stoked with how it turned out.

This one was done by Josh Payne @ Ascend Gallery in Cortland, NY. First time having one created from another artist as all the other work I have up to now has been done by Scot Clark @ Sacred Art also in Cortland.  We have some very talented artists in such a small town.

The main element is the skull. Skull tattoos in some representations symbolize death, but they also can, and do in my case, represent the fleetingness of life. “Memento mori” (latin for “remember your mortality,”) translates that it is important to know and understand  your own mortality so that you may live life to the fullest. “Carpe-Diem”  in modern translation “Seize the day” is a similar concept. M-dot (forehead) and 70.3 (under the left eye socket) are elements incorporated in the skull. Ironman is a mental as well as physical game/duel with one’s self, whether it be the 70.3 or even more epic 140.6 distance.

Wind and water  elements that merges and frames the lower skull are a part of the ironman experience, with fire representing the drive and desire to finish. The balloons (3) tie the piece back to Ironman Syracuse with is part of the race’s theme. The park the race is held at also host’s the balloon fest each year. He made that work with the overall design. The gold tooth is a signature item that Josh does in his skull designs.

I’ll update pics once the tattoo heals and settles down.  Big thank you to Josh  for putting this together.

Syracuse Half Ironman 70.3 Tattoo